MANILA, Philippines?No wonder that after more than 70 draws, no one has won the record 6/55 Grand Lotto jackpot, which is expected to hit at least P408 million Saturday night.
An official familiar with lottery Thursday said that out of the total possible 28.9 million combinations in a 6/55 game, bettors had put money on only about 25 percent of those combinations.
That means that 75 percent of the combinations do not have even a single bet on them.
The result: a rapid exponential build-up of the jackpot prize, according to a source involved in the lotto operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
?On the average, only 15 to 20 percent of (possible combinations) have bets placed on them,? said the official, who requested anonymity because disclosure of internal details about betting odds are discouraged by the government-owned agency.
The official noted, however, that the number of bettors rose as the jackpot prize increased, resulting in a sharp spike in the number of odds covered by bets.
In Wednesday night?s Grand Lotto draw?where no one won the P383-million grand prize?about one-fourth of all possible combinations were covered by bets, the official said.
This left about three-fourths of all available odds with no one wagering their money on them.
In the 6/55 draw, a bettor must correctly select six out of 55 numbers, in no particular order. Each bet under this scheme has a one-in-28.9-million chance of winning the jackpot.
With the minimum bet at P20, one would thus need to wager about P580 million to be able to bet on all the possible combinations.
The sheer size of the odds is the main reason only a fraction of possible combinations is picked by bettors, the official explained.
A total of 101 bettors from around the country correctly guessed five out of Wednesday night?s six winning numbers, earning them runner-up prizes of P150,000 each.
The six winning numbers in Wednesday?s draw were 04-10-29-30-34-35.
Correctly guessing five of six numbers out of 55 possibilities would be equivalent to beating the odds of one in 3.4 million?almost enough to win the regular 6/42 lotto draw with odds of one in 5.2 million.
If ticket sales spike up, as they presumably would, the winner of Saturday night?s draw could take home at least P408 million, if not more, the PCSO said.
This would be the first time that the jackpot in any of the PCSO?s lotto games shall have breached the P400-million mark.
The 6/55 jackpot is the biggest in the PCSO?s history, a record previously held by the 6/49 Super Lotto. The Super Lotto?s biggest jackpot of P347 million, recorded in February 2009, was shared by two winners.
The PCSO launched the 6/55 game in April this year to replace the high-end Power Lotto. The minimum bet to play the Grand Lotto is P20.
Catholic Archbishop Oscar Cruz, the Church?s well-known crusader against the illegal numbers racket ?jueteng,? said ranking government officials should stop betting in the lotto and just leave the game to the masses.
Cruz made the statement after several senators admitted they themselves had been placing lotto bets.
?It is not in accord with proper values that these honorable gentlemen would still play lotto,? Cruz said. ?They already have more than enough. They should leave it up to the ordinary citizens and not meddle with it anymore.?
Lotto is also gambling
Cruz said these officials should be reminded of delicadeza (sense of propriety) and the dignity of the office they occupy. He added that the senators also could not claim that they were betting in order to help the poor.
?If they want to help the poor, then why is it that they don?t bet if the jackpot price is small?? Cruz said.
Even lotto has ?that element of gambling because they buy tickets in order to win money that belonged to others,? he added.
?That is the essence of gambling. In gambling, when they put a bet, (they think) ?the money has to be mine (while) everybody else wants my money to be theirs.??
Sen. Joker Arroyo said he didn?t know anything about lotto but that people were free to dream.
In an interview on dwIZ radio, Arroyo said: ?I don?t know the game, I?m ignorant of that kind of gambling. P20 for P380 million? That is for the greedy.?
Arroyo said the only game of chance he played was Black Jack.
When told that six of his colleagues were regular lotto bettors like many Filipinos, Arroyo said: ?They are praying to win just like everyone else. I?m just joking. But if they like to, they can dream.? With reports from Philip C. Tubeza and Gil Cabacungan Jr.